A deal has been finalised which will see a leading restaurant chain move into Chichester’s historic Butter Market – giving a big fillip to the city centre.
Bill’s Cafe, Restaurant and Store has just signed up to the deal with the city council’s development partner, Orion (Southern) Ltd, and the city council itself, which still owns the building.
A 20-year lease has been agreed, under which Bill’s will take unit three, on the ground floor, plus the first floor.
City councillor David Siggs, who has had responsibility for overseeing the Butter Market negotiations, told the Observer this week: “The city council is extremely happy and satisfied with the proposal put forward by Bill’s.
“It will be a pleasure to welcome them to the city. We believe they will be an asset to the city and an asset to the Butter Market.”
The firm was set to start fitting out the North Street premises this week, and is expected to open for business during the next two months.
The high-profile chain has seven branches in the UK, in locations including Brighton, Covent Garden and Lewes.
The way was cleared for the deal when the district council granted listed building consent for a new staircase linking unit three with the first floor.
The arrival of Bill’s will mean the whole of the grade II listed Butter Market, which was built in 1808, is let, with other businesses already operating there including a patisserie and jewellers.
Bill’s was founded by Bill Collison, of Lewes, who opened his first store there in 2001 following the floods in Lewes in 2000.
The Butter Market in North Street was refurbished and reopened in April 2011. It is already home to other businesses including cake shop Patisserie Valerie and G H Pressley Jewellers. Concerns were previously raised about filling the Butter Market to capacity.